From bipartisan road trips to baby squirrels, a round up of the headlines that made us smile this week.
On Saturday, Trump announced a budget proposal that would entirely eliminate 60 government agencies and programs aimed at human services and lessen funding to many others. Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House office of Management and Budget specifically mentioned Meals on Wheels when sounding off on programs that ‘don’t work’ but ‘sound great.’ After the remarks, Meals on Wheels, a program which supplies nutritious meals to primarily homebound disabled and/or poor seniors, saw an increase in donations from a typical $1,000/day to over $100,000 in 48 hours. The White House budget must still come before congress and has already seen push back by Democrats and Republicans.
After a storm cancelled their flight to DC, Texas Congressmen Beto O’Rourke (D.) and Will Hurd (R.) decided to rent a car and try to make it to the Capitol together. The politicians live streamed the trip of nearly 1,600 miles, inviting constituents and other politicians to call or write in with questions. They gained thousands of viewers and read comments from everyone from Newt Gingrich and Cory Booker to Mark Zuckerberg. During the thirty-six hours, the new friends covered topics from border security to which salsa is better, verde or roja. They ate donuts and sang off-key to Johnny Cash. Though O’Rourke and Hurd knew little of each other at the beginning of the trip, by the end they were considering sharing Thanksgiving dinner. “I learned something — this is a guy I can work with,” O’Rourke told Fox 5 DC as they started to go into the Capitol. “It just happens that we’re on opposite sides of the aisle.”
China has unveiled plans by Italian architect Stefano Boeri to build two 300-foot-high skyscrapers covered in shrubs and greenery. The “vertical forest” will have 2,500 plants and 1,000 trees covering the surfaces. Boeri, the greenery will help “regenerate local biodiversity, provide 25 tons of CO2 absorption each year, and produce about 60 kilograms of oxygen per day.” The air pollution in China is so severe that nearly one-third of all deaths there have been linked to smog, according to research by the Nanjing University’s School of the Environment. These buildings are an attempt to use nature to rectify human footprint.
In India, only 27% of women work, according to Fortune magazine. To encourage more, India has created a new policy doubling paid maternity leave from ten weeks to twenty. More women working also enlarges the gross national product which is extra incentive for India to encourage a larger market. The policy applies to those in an organized workforce. Though this leaves out women who are self-employed, or businesses with under ten employees, it still dwarfs the United States, which has no paid leave but guarantees a woman won’t lose her job if absent twelve weeks. India is catching up to the countries that guarantee even longer paid leave: Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Ireland, Greece and United Kingdom, which has the highest paid leave at 52 weeks. (and yeah, America is the 20th.)
The problem solving team found a lost baby squirrel today, safely reunited with its Mother. Not what you normally find on burglary patrols! pic.twitter.com/ZOeDJzpgR9
— Hackney Police (@MPSHackney) March 1, 2017
A patrol in Hackney, England came across a squirrel no more than two days old splayed out in the middle of the street. Police surmised the mother dropped the babe while transporting it to another nest. “Not what you normally find on burglary patrols!” tweeted the department. Though the police did not disclose how they found the mother squirrel, they confirmed baby and mom were reunited without issue. The Hackney department’s twitter account has been inundated with praise and accolades.
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